Shayna Zaid & the Catch - The Living Room, 6/26/09, CD Release Show

When we last checked in with Shayna Zaid, her band had just been named the Catch, and in the last six months, she and the band have continued working full tilt, writing, recording, and playing frequently at Rockwood Music Hall and the Living Room, as well as extending their reach beyond NYC with ever more frequent college tours. Shortly before last Friday night's show came the happy news that a new EP was finished and ready for release and that the first copies would be available at the Living Room, making the show a CD release party.

Shayna Zaid & the Catch, new EP coming soon to Amazon MP3 and iTunes, CDs available at shows.

Listen to "Closer", from the new EP.

Let's start with the new EP. Shayna and her band have been in a highly creative zone for some time now, perfecting their mix of folk, pop, rock, and soul that results in a sound that is clearly their own. Not content to keep writing in any one style, Shayna, Joel and band stretch their songwriting muscles on the new EP, simply titled Shayna Zaid and the Catch, and in so doing have come up with a set of really great new songs. The record opens with "Morning Sun" a rocking little tune will put a smile on your face every time you hear it. You don't necessarily have to be in love to feel this bright in the morning, but listening to this song might make you feel like you are.

"Fireflies" is straight ahead pop/folk with a great hook that will happily take up residence in your head, and features undoubtedly the most exuberant vocal heard yet from Shayna. This is another great love song that underscores Shayna's mastery of expressing matters of the heart in a song. Which nicely leads into track three, "Closer" which has been a staple of their live set since it's debut last summer. When Shayna plays live, "It's You" is the jaw-droppingly beautiful love song that usually ends the set, but "Closer" has had the same effect on me ever since she first wrote it, with a most gorgeous melody, beautiful lyrics, and a heartfelt vocal by Shayna that is pure magic.

Listen to "Bonita", from the new EP.

Next up is "Bonita", which is three minutes of pure pop pleasure, with the band cooking on all burners and great sounding production by guitarist/producer Joel Dean to match a super piece of songwriting; this tune is totally ready for prime time. The disc ends with "Blow" a swing rave-up in which Yan Izquierdo leads the band with a violin part that falls somewhere between western swing and gypsy folk with tons of energy and his usual melodic and expressive playing. Shayna's vocals are about the most edgy in her repertoire to date, resulting in a highly danceable tune that leaves you wanting more when it ends. So at that point the only thing to do is to spin the EP again. Or better yet, go catch Shayna and the Catch playing live.

Which is what a most enthusiastic roomful of listeners did Friday night at the Living Room. The set was loaded with all the songs on the new EP as well as a few long-term audience favorites such as "Just Because","Stay", and "It's You". "Blue Waltz" is another new tune that's not on record yet that also sounded great played live.

The set ended with a powerful performance of "It's You" that left everyone in the room entranced. Shayna's live performance always engages the crowd, but this show seemed to have an extra bit of intensity that you could really feel as they played. If you're anywhere within reach of NYC, you really need to come out and see this extraordinarly talented band before some record label sees the light and takes them big time.

In addition to celebrating the new EP, the band debuted their newest member, bassist Danny Stone; don't be fooled by his youthful appearance, he's an awesome player. And he would need to be to hold his own with such formidable musicians as Joel Dean on guitar, Yan Izquierdo on violin and mandolin, and Chris Heinz who anchors the band with his masterful drumming. In addition to her singing and songwriting, Shayna also plays the acoustic guitar and concertina on certain songs.

John Cusimano (The Cringe)

Shayna had the 9pm spot Friday night at the Living Room, and performing before her in the 8pm hour was The Cringe who thoroughly entertained a similarly packed house with a varied set of originals and great sounding cover songs such as the Who's "Baba O'Reilly" which was part of a medley, and a crowd-pleasing encore rendition of the Beatles' "I Got a Feeling". The Cringe is led by singer, songwriter, and guitarist John Cusimano. He and his wife, ABC talk show host and Food Network cutie Rachael Ray, both stayed for and seemed to really enjoy Shayna's set.

The EP's were flying fast and furious after the show and everyone left with smiles. Shayna and band head out to Milwaukee this weekend to play Summerfest, they'll be back at Rockwood on Friday July 10th, and again August 25th at the Canal Room in NYC. If you're not in the New York area, check Shayna's myspace page for the lengthy college tour schedule that will take them to every corner of Pennsylvania along with dates in Ohio, Georgia and Florida.

Before leaving for Summerfest, Shayna and the band worked up an arrangement of "Beat It" as a tribute to Michael Jackson to play at festivals this summer. Even though Shayna doesn't do cover versions very often, the rendition of "Beat It" you will hear if you come to a show this summer (including next Friday's Rockwood show) is superb. All the band contributed to the arrangement; Danny and Chris give the song a modified shuffle rhythm joined by Joel's acoustic guitar to set up the signature riff which is beautifully played by Yan on violin. Shayna does the vocal soft and sexy, singing from the standpoint of a girl dismissing an ex-lover. The happy result is that this ultra-familiar song now sounds as much like a Shayna Zaid song as it does one of Michael Jackson's gazillion selling hit records. Like I said, this band is in the zone.

Here's one more from the new EP, listen to "Fireflies"

Check out more photos from the Living Room show at the Music & More Flickr page. Shayna's previous EP, Au Fait is still available, if you don't already have it, you can buy it at Amazon MP3 using the link below or pick it up at iTunes.

Shayna Zaid - Au Fait EP

Shayna Zaid & the Catch on myspace.
The Cringe on myspace.


Bev said…
Sweet music, a sweet songstress; your review of Shayna's group's new CD did them proud.

Your comment, "You don't necessarily have to be in love to feel this bright in the morning, but listening to this song might make you feel like you are" reflects on how the music moves you. Music is an enhancer of our experiences and might be called life's other, "other blood." Let us always remember that there is no substitute for falling in love, nurturing that love both physically and emotionally, and fostering a long term relationship filled with shared experiences (and music). I love you!

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